Domestic abuse victims in the UK get code word

Lund Bennett Family Law - Cheshire and Manchester

British pharmacies have launched a campaign encouraging domestic abuse victims to give staff a code word to access help.

The pandemic and lockdowns have led to a global surge in domestic violence and child abuse as victims have found it even harder to flee attackers if they are living together due to the numerous lockdowns we have been forced into over the past 12 months.

According to UN data released in late September 2020, lockdowns have led to increases in complaints or calls to report domestic abuse. The report has suggested that the figures are around:

  • 25% in Argentina
  • 30%  in Cyprus & France
  • 33% in Singapore

The new scheme involves over 2,300 branches of Boots, the UK’s largest pharmacy chain, as well as 255 independent pharmacies, the government said.

People who “discreetly signal” using the code word “ANI” will be offered a private space where they can talk to a trained pharmacy worker who will ask them if they want to immediately get help from police or other support.

The government has promised to run a national advertising campaign to make people familiar with the code word, including social media advertising.

The British government announced in May last year that it was giving £76 million to charities that support survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and modern slavery.

The government have also announced new laws to end the release without bail restrictions of those suspected of domestic abuse and sexual violence.